Dom of Salzburg: The Cathedral of Salzburg
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Dom of Salzburg: The Cathedral of Salzburg

The cathedral of Salzburg is located where Residenzplatz with the nearby St. Peter’s Abbey flows into Domplatz (“Cathedral Square”) in Salzburg, Salzburg Cathedral (Domkirche St. Rupert) is renowned for its graceful Baroque architecture and 4,000-pipe organ. It also houses a medieval font in which Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was baptized


The site where the present cathedral or Dom of Salzburg stands was probably a sacred place for rituals and sacrifices from Celtic and Roman times. It is known that the first Dom was built under the guidance of St. Virgil, who might have used foundations by St. Rupert. The first Salzburg Dom was recorded in 774. The relics of St. Rupert were transferred to the Dom from St. Peter's Abbey.

The cathedral of Salzburg is located where Residenzplatz with the nearby St. Peter’s Abbey flows into Domplatz (“Cathedral Square”) in Salzburg, Salzburg Cathedral (Domkirche St. Rupert) is renowned for its graceful Baroque architecture and 4,000-pipe organ. It also houses a medieval font in which Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was baptized.

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South side of Salzburg Cathedral - Photo by Martin Hapl

The first Dom of Salzburg was built between 767 and 774 and was 66 meters long and 33 meters wide. Archbishop Arno (785 - 821) was the first to arrange renovations of the Dom, which was in place for less than 70 years: in 842 it burned down after being struck by a lightning. After three years, the reconstruction of the cathedral started. Under the reign of Archbishop Hartwig, a long choir with a crypt and an extension of the rebuilt cathedral was built towards west between 1000 and 1020. Under Archbishop Konrad I, two West towers were built between 1106 and 1147.

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However, in 1167 the cathedral of Salzburg was on fire again, this time it was heavily damaged. But under the reign of Archbishop Konrad III., the Salzburger Dom was re-built. The resulting Dom was the biggest church that was ever built in Salzburg: 122 meters long, 48 meters wide and a summary size of 5,200 square meters in five naves made the Salzburger Dom the biggest cathedral in the whole of the Holy Roman Empire, at that time. Around the year 1200, the new cathedral of Salzburg was officially opened with a ceremony. Over many centuries, the cathedral was on fire several times - in fact, it was the 8th fire on the edifice that brought the final finished to Virgil′s foundations in 1598.

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Holy Spirit symbol of the dove in the central Dome

This site has hosted a Christian church since 774 where the original was replaced with a late-Romanesque structure built in 1000-1200. The Romanesque cathedral burned down for the 8th times and Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich took advantage of the destruction to demolish the rest and make plans for a grand new cathedral to reaffirm Salzburg's commitment to the Catholic cause in the face of the Reformation.

But the overthrow of Dietrich slows down the completion of this project. The present cathedral was commissioned by Archbishop Markus Sittikus, Count Hohenems and designed by the Italian architect Santino Solari. It was consecrated in 1628 by Archbishop Paris Count Lodron.

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Interior of Salzburg Dom - Photo by Miles Berry

The cathedral is considered by some to be the most perfect Renaissance building in the German-speaking countries; Salzburg Cathedral has a mountain-marble facade, twin west towers topped with green domes and a large green-roofed dome over the crossing. The bronze door (1959) exemplifies the themes of Faith, Hope, and Love.

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Beautifully painted Baroque cupolas - Photo by Marcus Trimble

The church's simple sepia-and-white interior, a graceful contrast to the usual Baroque excesses, dates from a later renovation. It is decorated with detailed Baroque murals, some of which were designed by Mascagni of Florence, along with the altarpiece. The dome was damaged during World War II but was restored by 1959.

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Beside the entrance was a Romanesque font at which Mozart was baptized. The font was decorated with relief of saints and made of bronze. The great composer served as a pianist here from 1779 to 1781 where some of his composition, such as "Coronation Mass" was written for the cathedral. Many of his composition were performed here for the first time

In the present crypt, traces of the old Romanesque cathedral that once stood on this site have been unearthed. The cathedral excavations are entered around the corner and this exhibition of excavation work shows ruins of the original foundation. The cathedral's treasures and the "arts and wonders" the archbishops collected in the 17th century, are displayed in the Dom Museum.


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Comments (13)

Another lovely architecture...

You really are doing a fantastic job on this series of articles.

One of my favorite cities!

I think this is my favorite up to now Ron. Clean, white lines and features - plus the Dove as its centerpiece. Extraordinary display of your wide-spread knowledge and understanding of the spiritual.

Great account of this masterpiece of central European architecture.

Dear everyone, I am very grateful for your read, votes and comments.

Very well executed and some really awesome pics. Thanks for sharing Voted

Another stunning article in your series.

Thanks Donata and Sandy.

What a Baptism Mozart must have had. Well done detail and history lesson.

Many thanks Roberta.

Very well presented article. Its always good to learn something new, thank you :)

Thanks Phoenix.